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ASTRON Newsletter January 2020  
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First ASTRON Newsletter


Welcome to the first ASTRON newsletter. As you might have noticed we have stopped producing the ASTRON News paper magazine. This digital newsletter is replacing the magazine and will be distributed more often. In the newsletter you find some of the recent highlights from ASTRON. 
 

A repeating Fast Radio Burst from a spiral galaxy deepens the mystery of where these signals originate from

Telescopes in the European VLBI Network (EVN) have observed a repeating Fast Radio Burst (FRB) in a spiral galaxy similar to our own. This FRB is the closest to Earth ever localised and was found in a radically different environment to previous studies. The discovery, once again, changes researchers’ assumptions on the origins of these mysterious extragalactic events.
 
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Highlights

The Netherlands is first to ratify participation in the construction of the world's largest radio telescope

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory, the intergovernmental organisation that will build and operate the world's largest radio telescope, has taken an important step forward thanks to the ratification of the SKA Observatory Convention by the parliament of the Netherlands. Ratification has now been confirmed.
 
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Gemini-XH in production

Early October the assembly of a new Gemini board called the Gemini-XH took place at Neways in Leeuwarden. More than 1000 parts ranging from 0.5 x 1 mm up to 50 x 50 mm had to be placed on this 340 x 144 mm 18 layer printed circuit board.
 
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Royal couple visits ASTRON

On 18 September 2019 the Royal couple visited ASTRON and the Dwingeloo Telescope as part of their 'Streekbezoek' to the province of Drenthe. The Royal Couple was welcomed at the Dwingeloo Telescope by ASTRON director Carole Jackson.
 
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Other stories

Latvian LOFAR station LV614 passed the Site Acceptance Test

On Thursday 15 th of August 2019, this important milestone in the realization of the Latvian LOFAR station in Irbene, near Ventspils was reached.
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Public release of Apertif SVC data

On 6 November we announced the first official data release of Apertif data in the Apertif Long Term Archive (ALTA - alta.astron.nl). This is a release of both the imaging and time-domain data from the Science Verification Campaign (SVC) which was undertaken in spring 2019. 
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Galaxy 3C 236 as seen by LOFAR

A representation of the giant radio galaxy 3C 236 as seen with LOFAR at lowest frequency and highest spatial resolution to date. The LOFAR radio data was used to produce the radio layer in the composite image smoothed to a resolution of 20 arc-seconds.
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ADASS 2019

The 29th edition of the Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems (ADASS) conference will be held for the first time in the Netherlands at MartiniPlaza in Groningen between 6-10 October. Over 350 participants from 28 countries will attend the event.

How does a radio wave become a picture?

Planets, stars and nebula’s all emit radio waves, which are a form of invisible light waves. They are detectable with radio telescopes such as the dish telescopes at Westerbork and radio telescope LOFAR. But how do the researchers at ASTRON construct an image out of those invisible waves?
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Can radio astronomy improve machine learning?

Machine learning, especially deep learning, is becoming ever more ubiquitous in various applications, including radio astronomy. We present a 'rare' counterexample of this trend. SAGECal has been using and developing many non-linear optimization routines for calibration of radio interferometric data.
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LOFAR 2.0 Stage 1 Station & Timing Distributor passed PDR

At the beginning of October we passed the PDR (Preliminary Design Review) for the LOFAR 2.0 Station & Timing Distributor. The review was held at ASTRON from 25-26 september 2019. A mainly external panel reviewed the documentation set created by the project. 
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Probing the cosmic web with SKA

The large-scale filaments of the cosmic web can clearly be seen in the distribution of galaxies in large galaxy redshift surveys. However, the gas inside these filaments, the intergalactic medium (IGM), is much harder to detect due to its relatively low density.

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Summary of 2nd ASTRON/JIVE Traineeship in Science Operations with Massive Arrays

The second edition of the ASTRON/JIVE "Traineeship in Science Operations with Massive Arrays" ended on 26 July 2019. The aim of the traineeship was to share expertise in operating massive arrays ahead of next-generation world-class astronomy facilities such as the SKA.
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LOFAR early-time search for coherent radio emission from GRB 180706A

In this figure we show the 0.3–10 keV flux light curve of GRB 180706A from the Swift Satellite. The black data points were obtained by the BAT (extrapolated to 0.3–10 keV) and the blue data points are from the XRT (observed at 0.3–10 keV).
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Current job openings

Upcoming events

Save the Date! 12 June - LOFAR 10 Years

Media mentions we are proud of

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